Article 25

A Proposal to Syria and the World

In Uncategorized on 08/26/2013 at 12:30 pm

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A Free Syrian Army fighter carries a mortar launcher at the frontline near Nairab Airport. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib.

What if we started with a truth commission?

By Robert Park

How it Happened: Let’s be clear. Many of the problems of the Middle East derive from European colonialism. In Syria, a former French plantation, it was the Alawite Shiites who got the nod for being the straw-bosses to run the territory. In Iraq, it was the Sunni tribe who got the franchise (from the British). The consequences of similar arrangements persist in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, etc. What should have receded into interesting history and quaint cultures for tourists became the fault lines of escalating religio-tribal conflict and leverage points for competing post-colonial empires. The resulting intellectual blindness caused the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to drop the ball on an historic opportunity in institutionalizing democratic rights, caused segments of Syrian society to support a creepy strongman when they should have abandoned him almost immediately, continues to fuel terror and counter-terror in Iraq and, of course, perpetuates the 16th century in Saudi Arabia and its clones.

Religious conceit is pretty destructive everywhere. In the United States, it is a pillar of the Fox/G.O.P. contract on America. In Iran, it filled the vacuum after the Shah puppet was felled. In Israel, it’s a convenient ploy for the globalists. In the Third World countries of Latin America and Africa, it’s a common diversion from assessing and successfully participating in class conflict. In the Muslim world in general, where real solutions to peoples’ real problems seem to be out of reach or even inconceivable – for reasons that are not an accident – Islamic fundamentalism has become the primary obstacle to progressive transformations that otherwise would establish pluralistic, popular political power and challenge the corporate global agenda. Consider Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Mali and Somalia. But Syria is ground zero in this contest. There is no good military solution other than cutting off all military aid from Iran, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the “Western” powers. That’s not gonna happen. After I00,000 deaths and no end in sight and massive refugee populations spilling into Jordan, Turkey and other neighbors, achieving whatever end being pursued will mean many more deaths and misery.

 

What if:

A Global Truth Commission were empowered by popular demand to do the following:

a)      Examine all the history of the Middle East since 1800

b)      Disclose all the power politics, class collaborations and conflicting interests

c)      Permit all viewpoints to be presented and cross-examined

d)      Is broadcast and podcast everywhere

e)      Is funded by popular contributions and progressive organizations from all over the world (and maybe even some few supportive governments)

f)        Enable aspiring political leaders and parties to establish legitimacy by declaring past errors and misdeeds and proposing solutions free of the deadweight of religious tribalism?

What country would host or tolerate such an enterprise? Looking at the treatment of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden suggests few takers, but maybe Ecuador, Iceland, Namibia?

What solutions might emerge for Syria? Well, if the idea that sectarian bloodshed is a dead end became widespread, several good things could happen: a) a general cease-fire, including most of President Bashar al Assad’s supporters and goons, b) if Bashar didn’t get the hint, a general strike would probably suffice to push him out, c) a popular non-sectarian security force could be assembled with full local, public accountability, d) a process for forming a government based on free non-sectarian parties and coalitions could be launched under the provision that it could choose to lean to the West or to any other competing global agenda only after sufficient time for public consideration , e) the country could be re-built with aid from the former suppliers of military resources, competing with good things rather than bad things.

This would achieve the following:

  • Fix the tragedy in Syria
  • Provide a good precedent for other countries
  • Might force movement toward a solution in Israel/Palestine
  • Facilitate Muslim acceptance and accommodation in Europe and here.

 

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